Want to raise money through crowdfunding for a mobile game?

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As an indie developer company we have had the pleasure of trying out a couple of different channels and strategies regarding marketing. We even tried handing out fliers at a dog event, trying to get some cash to flow into our crowdfunding campaign. As you may guess fliers suck big time, strolling around for a couple of hours at the event the fliers started showing up on the ground. And this was a dog event mind you, with a crowdfunding campaign aimed to make a game that would support dog shelters around the world! One problem of course is that dog people and mobile games don’t mix well, not many of them are interested in mobile games.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ace-tales-a-game-for-homeless-dogs

Okey so let’s hop on to Facebook. During that same campaign we had multiple partners willing to post on their own Facebook pages about us, encouraging people to support a new idea. Through Facebook we had a reach of around 50 000 likes, which we thought would convert into a nice amount of donations. Well that assumption was dead wrong, hardly any of them saw the campaign as interesting enough to donate. Let’s look at some statistics:

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Statistics of time spent and rewards achieved:

  • Facebook reach: 50 000 likes
  • E-mails sent: 200
  • Multiple reddit posts with best reaching 100 upvotes.
  • Visits to campaign: 2177 (Top countries)
  • Conversion: 0,45% (18 donations of which 8 were friends and family. So 10 organic donations)

So reaching 50 000 likes on Facebook and shooting out about 200 e-mails to different dog blogs, Android sites and any site we could think of could write about us resulted in 2177 visits. Out of 2177 visits we got 18 contributions, of which 8 were friends and family. That leaves 10 true contributors or a whopping 0,45% conversion of visits to paying.

Time spent on setting up the campaign: 1 month – It takes a lot of time to make a crowdfunding campaign for the first time. There were legal issues to be cleared, since we live in Finland where it’s not allowed to ask for donations of any kind. You are allowed to receive them, you just can’t communicate that you want them without having a permission. Secondly partnering up and getting these kind of rewards is very time consuming:

ScarfAndToyExclusiveTshirt

So why didn’t it work?

  • Facebook is really ineffective – Even if we reached 50 000 likes it would be optimistic to say 5000 of them saw a post about us. That’s just how Facebook works, their alghoritms choose whom to show the posts to.
  • Maybe the rewards were bad? -  Hard to say, it is obvious that there weren’t an obvious need for our rewards. Dog people probably already have dog toys and shirts if they are into that.
  • Maybe the video was bad? – The video could have definitely been better and probably shorter.
  • We should have reached more people – Yes, but looking at the conversion that number would have been huge to reach the $50 000
  • You were asking for too much – Perhaps, but it was a flexible funding campaign, and $20 000 would have already been a success.

Conclusion

Think hard and long before you start investing a lot of time into a crowdfunding campaign. It’s not easy to raise money, you need to have something very interesting and unique to peak peoples interest. Know your customers well and build a community preferably before you start a campaign. You need a lot of evangelists for your product to help spread the message. Additionally mobile games have a huge disadvantage compared to desktop games, no one seems to be interested in them. Media won’t write about you and players won’t get interested.

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